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Byline: By STEVE TUCKER South Wales Echo

This week I got an iPod shuffle, which doesn't mean I now have to walk round wearing a truss, it means I'm incredibly trendy. I'll be honest here: recently I think I've been undergoing a mid-life crisis, which for someone who's 39 and has drunk and smoked as much as I have, is actually rather optimistic.

The other day I was standing in Forbidden Planet, looking at the Star Wars stuff I can't afford.

I was wearing an anorak and glasses I'm fat and got a beard and I suddenly thought: 'Um, maybe I'm not going to sleep with Cameron Diaz after all.'

Getting old is hard; what was it Confucius said about the passing of the years?

Actually, I can't remember, but I think it had something to do with a grasshopper and the moon, although that could've been that TV series with the bald bloke in. Anyway no one wants to get old, right?

The signs of aging can creep up very subtly: one minute you're snowboarding in the Alps, the next you're stood in front of Stead and Simpson's window admiring those slippers with the zips on.

I knew I was getting old when, one Saturday night, I suddenly realised I didn't want to kill Ant and Dec anymore, although I still wouldn't mind maiming them.

The way you watch TV does change as you age. Suddenly you can't handle the sex and violence on Heartbeat and Midsomer Murders becomes too fast-paced to follow.

I'll never forget my own father on a Thursday evening shouting at the TV: 'What does he think he looks like? He looks like a girl.'

And me replying: 'Dad, that is a girl, it's Maggie Philbin, this is still Tomorrow's World, Top of the Pops doesn't start for 20 minutes.'

Good old dad, we all miss him, but Bridgend is a hell of a long way.

Safe to say, I realised I had to do something to liven up my image.

So one day I said to the wife: ' I've got to do something to make myself look younger.'

But all she could suggest was: 'Start hanging round with your grandparents more.'

Now don't get me wrong, personally I like hanging out with old people: I enjoy shouting and eating Werther's Originals in a room as hot as Burma.

But that wasn't the answer.

Luckily, the wife's been away visiting her parents in Japan. They are not actually Japanese, they just moved there when I married their daughter.

But when she returned she said she had bought me an iPod shuffle.

Now if you don't know what an iPod shuffle is, think a Walkman the size of a cigarette lighter, if you don't know what a Walkman is, think a little magic gramophone you can fit under your top-hat before heading off to the Crimea War, granddad.

I'm one of those lucky people connected to the internet at home, which means not only am I able to download music, I was also able to cancel my subscription to Razzle six months ago.

Of course, like all people who write newspaper columns which might be read by policemen or the head of Sony Music International I pay through the nose on the legal sites for all the tracks I download.

And I'm in good company: it was recently revealed George 'Dubya' Bush has an iPod, although at first he tried to eat it rather than listen to it.

So if you see me in town, feel free to come up and say hello, I won't be able to hear you anyway.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 18, 2005
Next Article:ROOM WITH A VIEW.

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